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Helen Bennett Harvey promises that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. Vegging Out is a recipe for a new way of life. Or at least a new way of eating. Pull up a chair. Contact me at:

Monday, July 14, 2008

What's a vegetarian to do?

My husband is eating a lot less meat these days, and it’s not by choice.
But consider this: in a family of five, all of whom are nearly adults, we have three vegetarians and one virtual health nut. Then there is my husband.
Now, I don’t mean to reveal too deeply that, without my influence, he would eat mostly things that contain mostly a lot of chemicals, sugar and fat.
I won’t name names of such food, which would not be fair to makers of things that come with meat, sauce and tomatoes already mixed together. Let’s just say much of it would come out of cans.
I, however, happily do the majority of food shopping for the family and am happy to note that, but for items such as black and red beans, and some diced tomatoes, I limit the number canned items I purchase.
I also limit the quantity of meat I purchase. That said, many might wonder how it is a vegetarian buys meat in the first place.
It isn’t easy.
I know modern supermarkets package it all up in a very sanitary way that makes us forget exactly from where all that flesh comes. To me it still is a constant reminder of the reason I became a vegetarian in the first place: to get dead animals out of my diet. (And, of course, because more people could eat if more people were to become vegetarians: It takes about 23 gallons of water “to produce a pound of tomatoes. Compare that to the estimated 2,000 gallons of water used to produce a pound of beef,” says Rudy Hadisentosa, in “How to Successfully Become a Vegetarian.”)
But, I admit it; I was never very good and choosing cuts of meat. I was not very good at home economics at Clymer Central School and who knew a porterhouse from a New York strip? A fryer from any kind of fowl? Even back in the day, it was catch-as-catch-can when it came to me and buying anything from a butcher.
Now, as the rows and rows of breasts, chops and steaks stretch out before me, I wonder from where it all came and what kind of life any of those animals had. I know how silly that would sound to most people, that most people would not hear the bleating, clucking and mooing that I do in the meat aisle.
Ok, I don’t really hear any of those sounds, but I might as well. I’ve seen the PETA video and let’s admit it, whether a burger is yummy to us, or not, the end of life is no picnic for the majority of animals in the worldwide food chain. The rest of their lives likely weren’t too much fun, either.
So picture me there, amid all that flesh, what’s a vegetarian to do? Pick fast, don’t browse and bury it under other stuff in the wagon, preferably lots of fruits and vegetables.
It’s a sham, I know.
The alternative? More stuff in a can for my husband.


Anonymous Sarah Caron said...

It is hard to purchase something that you don't agree with . . . but that is nice that you haven't forcibly erased it from his diet altogether.

I wonder: would you feel differently if the meat you purchased was locally grown, ethically raised and humanely slaughtered?

July 17, 2008 2:53 PM 
Blogger Helen Bennett Harvey said...

Locally grown, ethically raised and humanely slaughtered would be much better - but I have gone so long without meat that I no longer really miss it - and remember: it takes a lot less resources to grow food for people than to grow food for animals that people then eat.

July 18, 2008 5:20 PM 
Anonymous Anne Harvey said...

But if you're buying it anyway, why not try to buy local or humanely raised meat? Gayle says to check out : There's a link in the menu bar to find local sources. There were quite a few in Connecticut -- including sources for natural/pasture raised eggs and dairy. The site has lots of info so you might find it interesting and maybe even find some common ground, so to speak, with us carnivorous relatives.

October 03, 2008 8:18 PM 

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